Earlier this week, Portland Timbers head coach Giovanni Savarese called Sunday’s Western Conference clash with Nashville SC a must win after an opening day loss to Minnesota United. His team heeded his call as they picked up their first three points in 2020 and earned their first regular season in March since 2017.
A Diego Valeri strike in the 12th minute was all the Timbers needed to earn a 1-0 victory at Providence Park over the expansion side. Andy Polo’s headed pass allowed Valeri to rifle a right-footed shot into the right side of the goal.
The Argentine’s shot took a slight deflection, but worked in his favor to give Portland the only goal of the match.
Felipe Mora and Randall Leal both had good efforts, but the opening 45 minutes was pretty slow-paced in Portland.
Gary Smith’s side started getting better looks after halftime with Anibal Godoy and Walker Zimmerman both testing Steve Clark. The veteran goalkeeper made both saves to keep Portland ahead in front of their home supporters.
Jimmy Medranda’s half volley off a Nashville corner prior to stoppage time was Nashville’s only other shot on goal in the match. Zimmerman’s looping header in stoppage time look destined to earn Nashville a late equalizer, but missed just wide of the far post.
Clark finished with four saves to hand the Timbers their first home win of 2020.
Another negative for Nashville was the loss of striker Abu Danladi who only lasted 20 minutes as a second-half substitute. Danladi replaced David Accam in the 61st minute, but left in the 81st minute due to injury.
The Timbers next travel to the New England Revolution on March 15th while Nashville travels to Toronto FC.
Man of the Match
Valeri’s sublime strike in the 12th minute was all the Timbers needed to shutout Nashville and earn their first win of the season.
Moment of the Match
Walker Zimmerman’s stoppage time looping header looked destined for the far part of the Timbers net, but luckily for Portland it floated just wide.
Match to Forget
Dominique Badji was quiet in the Nashville attack, failing to record a shot and only registering 10 passes on the afternoon. Badji, an experienced striker in MLS, has yet to score for his new club.